Donny —  October 28, 2010 — 25 Comments

By Donny Shankle CPT

Inability to Keep a Tight Back (1)


The most common mistake made by weightlifters first starting out is their inability to keep their back straight while pulling the bar from any position. Every lifter will develop his or her own style which is conducive for them. In fact, some of your elite champions do not follow textbook style technique (whatever that is.) However, there are certain positions through the lift which must be followed very strictly in order to complete a successful lift. Holding a straight back is essential for the weightlifter to generate the most power out of the legs and keep the chest from dropping in either the pull or finished catch position. A bar caught with a rounded back and collapsed chest and shoulders leaves no position for the bar to be received. Elbows in turn will drop to the knees which can seriously damage the wrists and in competition this action is illegal. A rounded back when pulling from the floor will leave the bar out in front of the body instead of against the body which will result in a slower lift, missing the lift, and the overall safety of the weightlifter is in jeopardy.

Many young weightlifters develop this bad habit initially from not practicing good posture throughout the day. More and more young people are living very sedentary lives. Through years of playing video games and being on the computer hunched forward looking at the TV or monitor has grossly affected their physical development. Even while you are reading this now how is your posture?

The spine is in a weak position lazily hunched forward, additionally, the chest being forward causes the lungs to not develop properly (another mistake discussed later.) If the torso is continually supported by leaning forward and bracing the elbows on a table or your knees, then the stabilizer muscles become inactive. The result of this is clearly seen on the platform when a young lifter struggles to keep their back straight chest and chin up. All the more reason in today’s technological age to encourage an exercise program for young people. Lack of physical play is detrimental to a young person’s growth and development of kinesthetic awareness.

Constant reiteration by the coach and continual concentration by the athlete on keeping the back straight is the first step in breaking this bad habit. Exercises like the back raise and squat can be applied to training to help strengthen the muscles of the back. A straight back is crucial to applying the most force against the bar safely and efficiently. Once the back is strong enough to stay out over the bar until maximum extension of the hamstrings has been reached, the weightlifter will begin to move heavier weights quicker and with more confidence.

*Over the next 20 days I am going to talk about 20 mistakes a weightlifter can avoid to achieve victory on the platform. All advice given was collected through observation and experience as a competitive weightlifter. Topics discussed will be random and in no particular order. Everything from the basic’s above, to diet and the metaphysical will be discussed. It is my hope these idea’s will help bring any weightlifting aspirations you may have to fruition before the eye’s of the world. I realize each idea could be elaborated on in more detail, but I leave that for you to contemplate and discover.




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